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To complement the recent post on Euler's errors, I would pose the following question: what common errors of Euler interpetation appear in the literature? What errors are attributed to Euler's work in infinitesimal analysis even though he never made them? In addition, what cultural attitudes tend to contribute to the persistence of a desire to seek to attribute errors to Euler (sometimes without bothering to study his works firsthand)? As an example, I would cite Jeremy Gray's comment to the effect that

At some point it should be admitted that Euler's attempts at explaining the foundations of calculus in terms of differentials, which are and are not zero, are dreadfully weak,

while providing no evidence whatsoever for such a claim. See page 6 here.

Another example is the thread Euler and infinity whether both the question and the accepted answer assume that Euler cavalierly assumed that sine equals the infinite product merely because they have the same zeros. Over 300 visitors to the page didn't disagree and apparently nobody bothered actually to look at what Euler wrote.

Note 1. Qualified editors are invited to click on the "reopen" button below to permit an exploration of specific issues of objectivity or lack thereof in Euler interpretation.

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    $\begingroup$ The only desire to seek errors is the truth, i.e., to find out whether a proof is really "correct". It may be difficult to say what this means, but it has nothing to do with Euler. $\endgroup$ – Dietrich Burde Apr 22 '14 at 9:18
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    $\begingroup$ An example of the kind of attitude I am referring to is found in the currently fourth answer at the "Euler's errors" post. I responded to the answer there; see here $\endgroup$ – Mikhail Katz Apr 22 '14 at 9:22
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    $\begingroup$ @user72694 I don't see how that addresses my comment. I was simply questioning your apparant claim that people go out of their way to dig up errors in Euler's works. $\endgroup$ – Jack M Apr 23 '14 at 12:14
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    $\begingroup$ I think it's clear OP has an agenda and is more interested in pushing a point than in enquiring about mathematics. Voting to close. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Apr 23 '14 at 13:10
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    $\begingroup$ @GerryMyerson has distinguished himself in this kind of narrow-minded interpretation of SE rules before. I invite other editors to distance themselves from this kind of practice of suppressing viewpoints deviating from the received wisdom. $\endgroup$ – Mikhail Katz Apr 23 '14 at 15:20
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A possible reason for holding Euler to be suspect has to do with the fact that Euler was an infinitesimalist par excellence. Starting around 1870, Prussian mathematicians launched a program of rigorizing mathematics that was inextricably linked in their minds with a desire to extirpate infinitesimals. This contributed to a widespread attitude of suspicion toward infinitesimals which was perpetuated in numerous writings by historians who sought to embellish the significance of the Prussian effort. Thus, C. Boyer in his influential text goes so far as describing Cantor, Dedenkind, and Weierstrass as "the great triumvirate". Such historians also repeatedly painted a picture of rigor and infinitesimals as being antonyms. By association, the great infinitesimalists of the past also became suspect. More details can be found in this article.

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